Reading Group Discussion Questions

 

1.     Sophie’s curiosity leads her to poke her nose into odd and unused places, and to wonder about a name scratched into wood and a hair left twined about a button. Would you do as she did? Have you ever been nosy about something that caused you trouble eventually? Would you have explored where Sophie explored?

 

2.     Females in 1855 were limited in what ways they could seek employment and by other expectations of society. How much of Sophie’s difficult situation was magnified by these limitations?

 

3.     Sophie was kept isolated from everyone but the servants and Bernard. What aspects of the book were brought about because of Sophie’s loneliness?

 

4.     M. Bernard shows many of the characteristics of the abuser. What were some of these characteristics, and at what times did they reveal themselves in STRANDS?

 

5.     Sophie felt at first that it did not hurt to give in to Bernard on unimportant requests. What things did she give in on? What did she stand firm on? Would you have done so? How, eventually did she manage to keep her sense of self?

 

6.     Even though Sophie had been infatuated with M. Bernard, she was frightened and upset when he kissed her. What do you think her problem was?

 

7.     A subplot of STRANDS lies in the bondage of most of Wyndriven Abbey’s servants, particularly with Charles and Talitha and Peg Leg Joe. Are there ways Sophie could have helped them that she did not think of? What would you have done in her situation? In Charles’s and Talitha’s?